Monday, February 29, 2016
Sunday, February 28, 2016
The black cat. 1941
This is a quick 70 minute gum drop of a movie that pulls out all the old cliches, plot devices and stops for the one about old dark houses on dark rainy nights. It’s played more for comedy than thrills and the first thing one notices is the first rate cast running wild with their tongues firmly placed in their cheeks looking like they were having a fun time. There’s Basil Rathbone, Hugh Hubert (looking like he just stepped off on of those 1930’s Busby Berkeley musicals, Broderick Crawford cast against type playing a romantic lug, Bela Lugosi as the spooky grounds keeper, Gale Sondergaard as the spooky housekeeper (were her breasts lopsided or was that just me?), Gladys Cooper and a young handsome short Alan Ladd a year or so before he hit stardom. As is usual with these old dark houses, the cast play greedy relatives of the kindly but crusty wheel chair bound old lady of the house Henrietta Winslow who when the film opens has had a close call with Mr. Death and has gathered the vultures around her to read them her last will and testament. So much for the plot. There’s the usual creaky floors, hidden rooms, stormy nights, murders and lots of cats that Ms. Winslow likes better than her relatives. The film is enhanced by good cinematography by the great Stanley Cortez who went back and forth between B’s like this one to A’s (The Magnificent Ambersons) and no nonsense direction by Albert S. Rogell who directed 124 films beginning in 1921 including these enticing titles The Mask of Lopez, The Patent Leather Pug, Red Hot Leather, Grinning Guns, Air Hostess Butch Minds The Baby and many others.
Friday, February 26, 2016
A Real mind fuck
Wow. One of my fb friends just happens to be the son of a teacher I had in school. It was a 2 year junior college here in Brooklyn and Noah was looking through his fathers work when he came across this painting that I did, and for some reason his father kept which is strange since he didn't like much of my work and only gave me a c for a final grade. I don't remember it, but its mine all right, a real mind fuck
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
East Of Eden 1955
The last time I saw East Of Eden in a movie theatre was maybe 7 or 8 years ago when I rushed like a crazy person to an early screening at the Film Forum. I was disappointed with the print; it looked washed out and dreary. I of course watched the film, but I kept playing with the imaginary knobs to deepen the colors. I am spoiled like many by the digital revolution and all the brilliant restorations that are being done for classics and not so classic films. Even at the Moma the prints tend to look shabby and run down, the worst being a recent viewing of the Herzog film Aquire the Wrath of God, which the moma in its on screen notes warned us that the print was terrible and it was. So I’m pleased that the 2-disc restoration of Eden put out by Warner Brothers looks great. It helps that I have a 40inch big screen TV and I would urge any cinemphiles out there to get themselves one of these things.
This is a tremendous work of art one of the great films certainly of the 50’s for many reasons but especially for the great performance by James Dean, whose first film this was. His influence on screen acting was profound, as deeply felt and ingrained as James Cagney’s towering performance in Public Enemy some 25 years before which also changed film acting up to that time, and maybe forever.
An ironic note is that Cagney was along with Dean nominated for best actor Oscars that year, both of them losing to a heavy set actor playing a sad sack of a butcher from the Bronx. The academy probably thought that Dean would be around for many years and they had plenty of time to honor him. The director Elia Kazan just off his big hit Oscar win from the year before for “On The Waterfront” was generally thought of as an urban director with strong theatrical credentials, but in this film he shows he knew how to use the wide screen and his pictorial sense is superb.
He commands the screen placing people in landscapes as a train rolls by (taking our breath away) and along with some other mavericks at the time including Sam Fuller and Nicholas Ray showed just how great the wide screen was and how to use it to the fullest. The rest of the cast is also fine with Jo Van Fleet in her brief but brilliant Oscar winning turn as the missing mother turned bordello Madame. This is great acting just watching her walk down the street wrapped in dark fabrics is a master class in acting. Also Julie Harris, a very young and beautiful Lois Smith and a big surprise for me this time was how good Richard Davalos as Aron was. This is a subtle performance and his final scene always sends shocks and sorrow down and around me. Then there is Raymond Massey, Abe Lincoln himself who hated Dean and their scenes together are real and reverting especially the birthday party that reduces me to tears every time I’ve seen this film. Needless to say though that the film belongs to Dean, who as I said influenced movie acting, which can still be felt to this day. Yes I know Brando (his performance in On The Waterfront is arguably the greatest male performance in the history of film) but by 1955 he was 31 and his monumental work was finished and his flabby floating wasted days were upon us. Based on the 2nd half of the book by John Steinbeck and with a great memorable score by Leonard Rosenman and the vivid and beautiful cinematography is by Ted McCord. It’s the Bible baby, it’s the Bible.
Douglas Slocombe 1913-2016
Monday, February 22, 2016
Saturday, February 20, 2016
Pacifica Literary Review
Friday, February 19, 2016
Monday, February 15, 2016
Very nice. Lingerpost has just published several images of my art. Two are on the cover, and you can view the others by scrolling down and clicking on my name.
Friday, February 12, 2016
Welcome To New York 2015
ite a few scenes. He is not a nice man, but because of Depardieu's complex performance we are still able to feel something for him. He is matched by a very good performance by the beautiful Jacqueline Bisset as his very wealthy and unhappy wife who thinks nothing of paying $60,000 a month for a place to live in New York while she works to get hubby out of jail. The scenes of his arrest and jail time are among the best sequences of this kind of experience I've seen in a film, they're almost like a documentary that's how harrowing and true they feel. The film had its problems with the studio who cut some footage without Ferrara's permission, but actually I think the 108 minutes I spent with these people was enough time spent.
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Sunday, February 07, 2016
Went up to the JuMu yesterday to catch the Soviet photography and poster show before it closes once and for all today. Packed with wonderful striking photographs by Alexander Rodchenko and El Lissitzky among many others along with books and pamphlets and superb movie posters of the period. Nicely installed if a bit cramped, they even built a sweet little theatre to show films. It closes today Sunday. The Jewish Museum doesn't charge money on saturdays, Step away from that gelt so it can be a bit crowded but worth it. The other show now on is a well done large group show called unorthodox which is basically a show of outsiders and I pretty much enjoyed it. What I thought was how many terrific artists there are who are busy making art without any or much regard about the overstuffed New York Art world with its privileged few. Not everything in the show was too my liking, but I was surprised by how much I did like and the charm of the work overflows all over the place.